Matlama FC deny responsibility

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MASERU — Matlama FC has denied responsibility for their supporters’ unruly behaviour witnessed a fortnight ago. Instead the Maseru football giants say the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular organising committee should shoulder most of the blame for the chaotic scenes that were witnessed during the Spectacular final on December 18. Matlama FC were on December 2 slapped with a M70 000 fine after their supporters threw missiles onto the pitch during the Vodacom Spectacular final tie against Bantu. The team’s supporters also threw missiles onto the pitch during the replay on December 18. Matlama beat Bantu 6-5 on penalties to lift the trophy. The tournament’s organising committee has since asked Matlama to write a report explaining the rowdy behaviour by their fans. But Matlama’s communications and marketing manager, Lesolle Phalatsi, on Tuesday turned the tables against the committee saying it was to blame after it allowed alcohol into the stadium. “It was very abnormal for the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular organising committee to allow alcohol into the stadium during our games,” Phalatsi said. “I have never seen anything like this in my life.” He said it was inevitable that supporters would throw missiles onto the field after having one bottle too many. Phalatsi said it was unfortunate that the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular had been turned “into a beer festival” after organisers allowed alcohol to be sold during the games. “That was bound to cause problems. Allowing alcohol to surround the stadium was literally turning football matches into a beer festival,” Phalatsi said. He said this made it impossible for the teams to control their supporters who were under the influence of alcohol. “The situation was abnormal, making it difficult to control supporters who were drunk and still had access to alcohol.” Matlama supporters’ committee executive member, Paballo Makakole, said the blame should entirely lie with the Lesotho Football Association. “It is not possible to control anyone who is drunk because people express their emotions differently,” Makakole said. The chairman of the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular organising committee, Tlholo Letete however declined to comment when contacted on Tuesday. “Let me not comment right now while we still have pending issues with Matlama as an organising committee,” Letete said. “We are sitting on Thursday (today) to discuss and address all Matlama issues,” he said. Letete said Matlama have already been asked to submit a detailed report concerning their supporters’ behaviour on December 18.

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